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Ohio State University - Home to the Michael Podell, DVM - Cats On Speed experiment.

    The Canary and the Rat

The original purpose of this experiment was to see how gene therapy can improve the skin wound healing in mice. 240 Rac (gene statement) transgenic mice were approved for use.


One hundred canaries were approved for use by the ILACUC in September. The protocol will investigate the wound repair process and heart failure since lesions in the heart that lead to heart failure are basically wounds that do not heal. Environmental stress or surgery in the heart will increase the levels of free radicals that cause damage to the heart. The Rac gene can trigger whole cascades of down stream signaling that lead to damaging the heart.

Canary birds are very sensitive to stress and they die suddenly by heart failure.

Twenty canaries will be used in the pilot experiments to determine the right conditions of temperature, noise, and starvation will lead to stress. When the ‘right conditions’ are meet another 80 canaries will be exposed to different stress factors such as noise, low temperature (not lower than 55 degrees F), high temperature (not higher than 85 degrees F), and starvation (not more than 24 hours or less than 12 hours). This should be enough canaries to gather tissue samples for study.

Upon arrival the canaries will kept for 5 days to adjust to the new environment, then the experiments are conducted for one day and at the end of the day the canaries will be killed and tissues collected.

The investigator will compare gene statement and sequences in the heart and aorta of the canary and the Rac transgenic mouse.

NOTE: Data is from amendment submitted to the Ohio State University - Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (ILACUC)

Rac Gene Regulates Cutaneous Wound Repair